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Canadian Foodgrains Bank Monitoring COVID-19 Situation Closely

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is keeping very close watch on the COVID-19 situation as the virus could impact the organization's operations in two ways.

Executive Director Jim Cornelius says there is the potential to impact the capacity for their partners on the ground to implement programs.

Cornelius says some countries where they're operating are already closing things down, which will make it extremely difficult.

"We're still just starting to get the early information back as to what those impacts might be," he commented.

Cornelius says the impacts will vary dramatically from country to country and location to location.

Secondly, if widespread infection rates begin to be seen in the communities in which they operate, Cornelius, says they will need to examine whether or not changes need to be to the program. He says so far, that has not happened in any of the communities they work in, however, if it should happen, it would have huge impacts on the programming itself.

COVID-19 will likely impact donations to many charitable organizations, and Cornelius expects that won't be any different for the Foodgrains Bank.

"Partly because as all of us see our savings eroding in our RRSPs, people losing jobs, becoming more fearful of their own financial situations, it's quite natural for people to hold back and be more careful with what they're spending their monies on, and charitable giving is often one of the first things to go. So we are concerned about that."

Whether or not COVID-19 will impact the grow projects, Cornelius says it's too early to know yet. He says the fortunate part of growing projects, is that in the early phase, it doesn't take a lot of people to organize over the phone or by email. Therefore they remain hopeful that groups of people will still stay together and get a crop in the ground.

Meanwhile, Cornelius notes the Canadian Foodgrains Bank does not have any workers stranded abroad as a result of Covid-19. He explained they mostly work through local agencies and people on the ground in the countries they are working in.

"I do know a few of our member agencies have had staff they've had to pull back and bring back to Canada. A few other staff have chosen to stay out in some of the more remote areas and hunker down."

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